Sunday, May 16, 2010

Basil and I have issues

I love basil. One of the most useful and tasty of herbs. Easy to grow so "they" say.

My rear end. My basil hates me. I lovingly planted seeds, they all came up then died. I put them out in the sun (protected by a nice little cold frame) and they croaked. Humph.

I bought some healthy plants at the nursery. Lovely specimens. I brought them in each evening so the slugs would not be dining on them. The nights were cold. I babied the heck out of them. Then it warms up, time to go out in a lovingly tended pot with lots of natural plant goodies, worm casting from our red worms being the least of it. All of those basil plants went and croaked too.

I've come to the conclusion (after digging around in my psyche and trying to find a little zen bubble to relax and breath in so I don't lose my temper) that I was not meant to have basil for some reason. Still working on the reason part. I'm baffled. Humph.

I'm also having trouble with Rosemary. I figured that one out though. The northwest, especially the part I live in is too wet (120" plus a year) to plant the herb direct into the ground. If one has sandy well drained soil with a micro climate of a house for it to thrive near, fine. I don't happen to have that. But when I forget to get it out of pots and into the ground it lives. Put it in the ground it dies. So I learn these lessons the hard way over the course of a few years and too much money later. Damned irritating. So I got it this time. Finally. Have one plant that needed rescuing, but I'm pretty sure I got it.

To have a little fun and inject some humor into the whole thing I've decided for a short amount of time to get into minimalism. As an artist, that is terribly difficult for me to do. Usually I pack too much in, whether painting or planting. So this is my attempt at minimalism. Until I stuff some HARDY seeds in and plant bamboo stakes in as well to protect from all my doggone animals. Cats and little dogs. Just about as destructive as my four big dogs. Humph.

I'm turning into a curmudgeon. It can't be helped.

Those little dogs that seem to think it's a blast to dig and rip and tear.

Minimalist Rosemary that was rescued out of the garden.

Minimalist Parsley

Mountain Basil that died off.

Large leave basil that died off as well.

Comfrey will be planted all over the place in the front. It's just about the only thing that can't be killed by all my animals. The goats, rabbits and chickens will really benefit, so all is good that direction. So some good will come out of all this, right??


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rabbits for Meat

I finally have all my stock lined up in such a way as to do a run once a week. With an average of 7 per liter I'm looking at about 1440 pounds of meat in a year. Not bad. Would like to see the liters larger and or survival rate higher, but this is what my numbers told me for last year. So average of 7 is my starting point.

The dogs benefit as well because I won't be buying them nearly the quantity of commercial dog food. I'm going from 5 bags of dog food for the 4 German Shepherds to just one. I'd like not to buy the one at all because I'm unhappy with commercial dog foods, period. We'll see if I can get it down to no commercial dog food.

The pictures below are of some our crew. We have 11 breeding females (doe's) and 3 breeding bucks. Only three of the doe's are without liters currently, two of those are pregnant (we hope) We just moved a liter through yesterday, they are out in the cooler and hopefully we will have some smoked rabbit on Monday or Tuesday. The most amazing meat I've ever had! ...mmmm mmmm mmmm! I cut all the meat from the bones and throw the bones into two large crockpots for stock and to get the bones softened down real nice to grind up for the dogs. Included here are also two other dishes I've prepared: Braised Rosemary Rabbit and Apple Pepper Rabbit. Incredible! :-)

This liter was the largest we've had yet. 12 born, 11 survived. We will be keeping a female from this group to try and replicate the propensity for larger liters.

Momma Rosy and her 8 kits.

A new little nest of babes, about 2 weeks old.

Though we have two water bottles per cage, they still feel the need to bunch in and get squashed. Really funny and sweet little babes.

Braised Rosemary Chicken in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Apple Pepper Rabbit, ready for the oven.